12/14/2006 12:00AM

Magic Sunset won't hang too far back

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More speed from Magic Sunset. That is something handicappers can expect on Saturday night, when the gelding starts as one of the favorites in the $40,000 Cocodrie at Delta Downs. The race is one of two stakes on the card, with the other being the $40,000 Gardenia.

Both stakes are to be run at 6 1/2 furlongs, and both are restricted to Louisiana-breds who have not won a stakes. The conditions of the Cocodrie are one reason trainer Tom Amoss has shipped the 3-year-old Magic Sunset to town from Fair Grounds.

Magic Sunset has run in two stakes races, finishing third in the $75,000 Sophomore Sprint Championship at Mountaineer Park and fourth in the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Sprint at Fair Grounds. He closed from last on Champions Day, but should be closer to the pace on Saturday.

"We looked to take him back," Amoss said of the Champions Day Sprint. "And actually, he's a horse you kind of have to stay after to some extent, and so we took him back and he was way back, and that's not really what we wanted.

"I don't think you'll see him in that position this time around. I'm not saying he'll be on the lead, but don't look for him to be out the back door when they open the gate, either. I think he'll definitely be in better position."

Tracy Hebert has the mount on Magic Sunset, and he is on the way to forming a strong jockey-trainer team with Amoss this meet at Delta. Hebert and Amoss were 2 for 2 together at the meet through Wednesday night, and had a leading contender in the feature here on Thursday.

The chief rival to Magic Sunset in the 10-horse Cocodrie appears to be Chocolate Warrior, who was third to eventual stakes winner All Wired Up in an allowance at Delta on Nov. 4.

In the Gardenia for fillies and mares, Golden Demand returns to racing around two turns; her last three wins came in two-turn events. In her most recent start, she returned from a two-month freshening and closed for fifth in a six-furlong optional claimer against open company at Fair Grounds. Trainer Dewaine Loy has given the mount to Jeff Burningham.

Others of interest in the race include Shawklit's Sopo, who raced in open company last out; Autobesarah, the highest earner in the field with a bankroll of $338,310; and Kimua Baby, an 11 3/4-length winner last out who is a threat to wire the field Saturday.